Noah Breslau

  • Hosted by Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • Sponsored by Albert & Anne Mansfield Foundation
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school Stanford Law School
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Noah aspires to reduce imprisonment in Illinois by ensuring that people on parole have full access to their constitutional rights—including effective procedural protections and state-funded representation—and by reducing the use of incarceration as the default response to perceived parole violations.

After finishing a prison sentence, most Illinoisan’s freedom is contingent on compliance with stringent conditions of release. Upon suspecting a violation, parole agents can lock someone up without judicial oversight. Every year, about seven thousand people on parole are sent back to prison for technical violations like losing touch with parole agents, moving without permission or failing to sign up for mental health services. The vast majority are unrepresented by counsel during their revocation proceedings.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

In the first twelve months, Noah has:

  • Provided advice and brief services regarding the mandatory supervised release system to approximately 50 people.
  • Provided full representation to 12 clients and reunited 10 individuals with their families through direct representation during parole revocation proceedings and administrative appeals.
  • Provided information about peoples’ due process rights and procedural options while facing parole revocation to dozens of detained people facing revocation (or their loved ones).

Next Steps

In the next year, Noah plans to:

  • Develop systemic-reform litigation.
  • Support a coalition of advocates dedicated to transforming Illinois parole.
  • Conduct workshops, meet with legislators and develop public education materials for individuals facing revocation.

It is a tragedy that incarceration is often Illinois’s first response to people who need help—the Constitution promises a more generous world to all of us.

Noah Breslau /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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